Menu planning vs menu doing

It all starts with a nice solid plan. You know? You take the inspiration from cookbooks, Pinterest, fitness blogs, Facebook, Instagram, or what have you. You put pen to paper, stylus to screen, or fingers to keyboard and you’re off! Meatless Monday,  Tenderloin Tuesday, leftovers Wednesday, chicken Thursday, pizza Friday, tacos Saturday, and Sunday you do it all over again! At least,  that’s the plan. 

This week, I got pretty far, actually. I made the menu, made the corresponding grocery list, bought said groceries, and boiled the eggs. Then,  well. 

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Little Elfkin started getting sick.  Like,  both of us missed work, worked from home, and kept her out of daycare for days kind of sick. I managed to boil a couple eggs, but really, the majority of my time was spent trying to make her comfortable and watch for changes. 

We were supposed to have a paleo breakfast bake for this week’s breakfasts. We ate a lot of cereal and/or bought breakfast on the way to the office while the other parent stayed home. 

Side note: Affogato Strada Espresso is delicious. 

*weak stomach warming, skip this paragraph*

Ohhh Roseola. Not fun.  SO not fun. The thought of cooking goes right out the window when your little one is burning up,  throwing up, and refusing to eat. Her fever got so bad at one point that it caused her to throw up, even though she hadn’t eaten anything.  Poor dear. Poor Jeff, too! She got him completely and stunned him.. that didn’t stop the process, though, so she also got the floor, the changing table, and my foot. All Jeff could say was “it’s HOT.”

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So, off to the ER we went, where they told us that “sometimes, sick kids throw up.” …real insightful. 

All this to say: the menu was planned, but the menu was not done. The thing is, life will always be busy and hectic and in the way. I know how to not go completely off the rails, though! Some of it is planning ahead, yes, but more of it is sticking to my plan even when nothing else does. For example, when we had Jersey Mikes, I got a “sub in a tub,” and saved about 300 calories. When having pizza, I loaded it with veggies and split half with Jeff, even though it’s a personal pizza. At the gas station, I tried to pick snacks and meals that fit into my day by checking it on My Fitness Pal (sn: Aminarra) first and making a decision based on that. 

Now, if you open my refrigerator, you’ll find cherries that have gone soft, avocado that’s seen better days, and iceberg lettuce turning yellow instead of pale green.

This week’s plan is to salvage what I can and go from there. It’s always a bit grating to waste food, so we’ve learned to live with wrinkly peppers and to adjust our expectations. The plan is much simpler this time around. Oatmeal for breakfasts, batch cooked chicken for dinner, and either salad or sandwiches for lunch. I picked up some fruit at the grocery store because whole food is fast food. This is a plan I can stick to even if life goes crazy again. It’s not easy, but is doable. So just do it. 

A quick reflection on menu planning

In talking to a friend tonight I realised that,  not only had I not blogged in a while,  but I hadn’t planned a menu in a while either.  We’ve been experimenting, in my house,  with buying meat in bulk but buying produce daily. This has added up to an empty fridge,  frozen meat, and an increase in reliance on fast and processed foods. I think this is because our time always seems pressed during the week.  We’re rushing to work,  rushing to get Little Elfkin from day care,  rushing to get home to feed her, making sure to nourish her mind and her body with story time,  play time, bath time, and bed. Honestly,  by the time she conks out, I’m ready to pass out too! I’m cutting into my sleep time to make this menu and reflect: menu planning would be so much easier if you didn’t also have to make the grocery list, buy the ingredients, and actually cook. 

I’m going to try to find time for:

  • Swirly Crustless Quiche 
  • Pumpkin pancakes
  • Grain free porridge
  • Salmon
  • Mustard glazed chicken thighs
  • Zucchini pancakes
  • Buffalo chicken lettuce wraps
  • Sweet potato and apple soup
  • Sage roasted turkey legs
  • Spaghetti squash bolognese
  • Bacon wrapped smoky chicken
  • Sausage and pepper stew
  • Turkey meatballs and squash

Now,  this is a ton of food, so I will disclaim this: not all of it will be made,  but what is made will be eaten and not wasted. For me,  menu planning is mostly a suggestion,  not a concrete agreement. 

What’s on your menu? Do you have a go-to meal plan?

Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Rosemary

Please forgive any typos, I’m sure to go back and fix them, but this blog is being written from my phone while the Little Miss sleeps on me.
Continue reading “Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Rosemary”

Pumpkin Soup with Chili and Ginger

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While I’m staying home with BabyGirl, there is a lot of opportunity to watch daytime television.  There’s an unbelievable amount of talk shows on that follow a similar format.  The Talk, The View, The Chew, The Real

I was watching Clinton Kelly (of What Not To Wear fame) on The Chew when he demonstrated a Roasted Curried Pumpkin Soup that I thought sounded scrumptious.  I happened to have everything that it was calling for and happily headed into the kitchen to cobble it together. 
Continue reading “Pumpkin Soup with Chili and Ginger”

CSA Day 3 – veggie overload!

I’m starting to wonder if maaaybe the CSA wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had. I guess when I pictured farm fresh vegetables every week, I had hoped for vegetables that I usually actually eat and enjoy. Bell peppers, carrots, potatoes, even parsnips, cucumber, and celery would be cool! But what have I been getting? Turnips. Kohlrabi. Napa cabbage. I’m all for adventure, but when I get stuck on how to use an item, it gets abused and discarded. I really hate wasting the food 😦

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Tonight’s CSA box includes:
– Brats from Von Hansen
– Broccoli
– String Beans
– Peas
– (unidentified root vegetables)
– Lettuce
– Potatoes
– (Unidentified leafy green)
– Purple Kohlrabi

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We still have from the LAST CSA:
– Strawberries
– Rhubarb
– Napa cabbage
– Lettuce
– Broccoli
– Kohlrabi
– Beets

Plus, from our standard groceries we have bell peppers, cucumber, carrots, and celery.

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This is decidedly a first world problem. I’m not complaining by any means–I’m thankful for the abundance–but I’m also worried about how to best make use of it.

Last night me and Jeff blanched 3/4 of the broccoli, and 3/4 of the string beans, and froze them. We’re giving the beets, some broccoli, and some peas to my parents. I’m hoping my sister wants one of the kohkrabi…

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Kohlrabi

The CSA is going to last at least another month, if not longer, so I’m going to use this as an opportunity to expand my veggie horizons and eat a lot more veggies… Even if I *do* have to Google them first 😛

I think dinner tonight will be the brats and a cole slaw of kohlrabi, Napa cabbage, and carrots. I can bring it to my brother’s house to share tomorrow afternoon for lunch ^_^

Chef salad for dinner!

I’ll make another pie!

Broccoli cheddar soup!

Uh… Other stuff!!

Okay, WordPress readers… What would you do? Leave your ideas in the comments below.

Pumpkin Pancakes

My in-laws are in town for Easter. They drive all the way down from Winnipeg, and I like to think it’s just for my pumpkin pancakes.

I’m allowing myself to call them “mine” because I make a couple tweaks to the original recipe. It’s actually a recipe from Diane Sanfilippo, from the book entitled Practical Paleo.

Since everyone was still sleeping, I had the entire first floor to myself. Step one: turn on some tunes.

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Now that you’re bopping around to some good tunes, you should realize that you’re starving.  Eat a can of pears while getting your ingredients together!

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As you’re getting your ingredients together, question the freshness of your eggs since you can’t remember when you bought them.  The Float Test works really well!  If you’re questioning your eggs, give it a try.

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Ruh roh… One of them is bad. Two are alright, and one is fresh.  Toss the baddie and swap in another fresh egg!

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All set? You should have 4 eggs, 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, 2* TBLS vanilla extract, 2 TBLS maple syrup, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp baking soda, and 2 TBLS coconut floor*.

*quantities or ingredients vary from original recipe.

All set?? K, let’s mix the wet ingredients first.

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Whip that up–I use an electric beater, but a whisk would work too.  Next, get together the dry ingredients. Make sure to get your cook book all messy… This is required. 😛

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K, mix the dry ingredients together so that we can sift them into the wet ingredients next.

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Mix these together, then set it aside for a moment. Now is going to be a great time to clean up your dishes and get the skillet or griddle pre-heated.

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That’s one of the things that I learned from my grandma.  If you clean as you go, the end clean up won’t be so bad.

Now, if you’re using a nonstick skillet, you shouldn’t need the coconut oil that’s called for in the original recipe. I normally prefer to leave it out, but I used a little this time just to stick a little closer to the original recipe.

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These cook up a little differently than normal pancakes. Depending on how hot your griddle is, these might cook up in a couple minutes, but it could take longer.  Our griddle is starting to lose heat in some areas, so I had a couple false starts.  You can watch for the bubbles to burst, but it could be a little while before you see that.

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Flip! These are a bit wet, even with the added coconut flour, so I like to press them after they’re flipped to get them to cook through. I also flip them again to make sure both sides of the batter that ooozes out (yummy!) is cooked.

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Slice up some fruit to have with your meal, and you’re all set. These pancakes are so flavorful that you won’t need butter or syrup to go with them.  By all means, feel free to dress them up!

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Enjoy!

3..2..1..Paleo!

We’re getting back into Paleo eating, now that we’re in the new place.  We’ve done pretty well in the last week, but tonight, we’re gearing up for the Squeaky Clean Paleo plan featured in Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo. Note: this is NOT a sponsored post.

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Pumpkin cranberry muffins, pumpkin pancakes, spaghetti squash bolognese, ribs with green beans, pineapple teriyaki chicken, home made cranberry sauce

Call me crazy, but I feel like eating healthy should taste good.  The recipes that I’ve tried from this book hit that mark. Jeff is excited about cooking again, too, but not about the dishes…because cooking every meal requires lots of dishes.

Tonight I’ve dirtied up a few mixing bowls, some knives, pans, spoons, cutting boards, and towels cooking up some meals for tonight and tomorrow.  I’ve got stuffed cabbage rolls with a cranberry tomato sauce in the oven, along with a “swirly crustless quiche” made with carrots, zucchini, and about a dozen eggs.  I’ll be making mustard glazed chicken thighs shortly, and tomorrow we’ll have a braised beef dinner.

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Our fridge is fully stocked with yummy foods and I’m ready for this adventure.

What is your favorite thing to make in the fall? Share your favorite crafts and recipes, below.